Defining Personal Quarterly Goals
Monday January 29th, 2018
I'll need to first note that setting quarterly accountable goals is an idea that was provided by The Art of Product Podcast. Now that credit is given, I've reflected on what was said in the podcast, mixed with the few goal-oriented things I've learned in engineering, to define a few personal goals. This post will be defining how I've decided to adapt my goal-setting procedure (since I've attempted goal-taking in the past with a few mixed failures and successes). This post will also contain my personal goals, as they may provide some nice examples/motivation to some readers.
Creating habit-oriented goals
The first thing I've decided to do before even choosing my goals was to contact a group of friends (read : my League of Legends team). Keeping track of a goal for yourself by yourself can be a chore, and it's easy to just let it go when things are going wrong. Having other people follow your progress (and doing the same for them) can help provide some motivation to keeping track on your goals. Even more if you're the lead. You wouldn't want to be the one setting up a goal-taking group and then not following up on your goals. At least, for me, my ego wouldn't allow that ^^.
The second important point of my goals were to make them habit-oriented. This means my goals needed to be small things that could be turned into a habit if done often enough. This is the reason I went for quarterly goals instead of monthly or yearly. It's hard to develop a habit in only one month. But it's also hard to keep sight on a year-month goal. Three months felt enough to build small habits, while not being too demotivating.
The third goal-criteria I had was to have all goals numerable and trackable. A lot of people make goals that follow "Do X Y times per Z", such as "Go to the gym twice a week". The issue with those goals, I feel, is that they are too easy to give up on. They have a clear and EASY failure condition. If you go to the gym ONCE on week 4, for example, you've failed your goal. Even if you tell yourself otherwise, it's really easy to lose motivation over that week and stop going to the gym again. Which defeats the habit-building purpose of the goal. For that reason, all my goals are build as "Do X Y times in the 3-month goal period", where Y is way bigger. For example, let's say I want to "Publish 1 blog post per month", I'll define it as "Publish 3 blog posts". This allows me to not only have a failsafe if I get late on it, but I can also easily get ahead of schedule and do more.
Here are my defined goals for the January 15 to April 15 quarter (dates defined from when we had our group discussion).
My first goal is to "read 3 non-school related books". I've been an avid reader throughout my childhood, but I've stopped using my free time to read around college. This has definitely been due to making gaming my main leisure activity. Thus, I've decided to use some goal-based motivation to get my nose back into books.
League of Legends
I've mentioned that this goal-setting experience was with my League of Legends team. That means I needed to include at least one game-related goal. I've decided to go with "play 135 solo-queue games", which averages to around three games every two days.
I've been suggested to do situps by my family's doctor for my back pains. Following up on it, I've decided to go with a "3000 situps" goal (around 32/33 per day). I'm hoping to end up with a higher amount than 3000 at the end, but we'll see. I'm also planning to have more exercise goals in the future, if this method works well.
I've attempted meditation in the past, but never could get myself to do it for more than a few days. I've decided to go with "3 cumulative hours of meditation", which is around 2 minutes per day. In hindsight, I believe 3 hours is actually a really low amount, but there's no harm in getting 5-6 hours done even if the goal is lower.
Hey, I'm currently working on this goal! I've been wanting to start writing more consistently. My goal is to publish (writing something that's not publish is only worth for the learning experience, but you learn even more by getting public feedback) "3 blog posts". Considering this is my second post since we started, I can say I'm on track to get this done. I also have already planned the subject of my next post, which means I probably won't have a blank page issue in the future.